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Student-Content Interactions in Online Courses: The Role of Question Prompts in Facilitating Higher-Level Engagement with Course Content
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Journal of Computing in Higher Education Volume 23, Number 2, ISSN 1042-1726

Abstract

This study examined the relationships among question types and levels and students' subsequent responses/interactions in online discussion forums. Question prompts were classified both by type, as outlined by Andrews ("POD Q J Prof Organ Dev Net Higher Education" 2(34):129-163, 1980), and by levels of critical thinking, as outlined by Bloom (Taxonomy of educational objectives, David McKay, New York, "1956"). Students' responses (n = 850), taken from 19 discussion forums, were coded using Bloom's six levels of cognitive processing: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Interaction patterns were determined using three of Andrews' "mileage" indicators: average number of responses/student, average number of student-student sequences per question prompt, and average number of threads (and posts within a thread) for each question prompt. Results support the hypothesis that questions at the higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy facilitate higher levels of students' responses. Among Andrews' nine question types, "lower divergent" questions were most effective in generating high levels of student thinking compared to other question types. In terms of interaction patterns, "brainstorming" and "playground" questions averaged the highest number of posts/student as well as highest average number of student responses/prompt. Questions at the "comprehension," "application," and "synthesis" levels resulted in the highest average number of student-student sequences. Implications for the development of effective question prompts are discussed.

Citation

Ertmer, P.A., Sadaf, A. & Ertmer, D.J. (2011). Student-Content Interactions in Online Courses: The Role of Question Prompts in Facilitating Higher-Level Engagement with Course Content. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 23(2), 157-186. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

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